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Is LinkedIn Sales Navigator worth the investment?

In 2023, LinkedIn commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study to determine  the return on investment (ROI) of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Using a combination of customer interviews and its own analysis, the firm found that it yielded a 312% ROI over 3 years, and paid for itself in less than 6 months.

Discover the main benefits identified by Forrester below, and read the full study for the full details, including methodology, customer testimony, and risk assessment.

Revenue growth Research efficiency Sales productivity Data accuracy Finding hidden allies Buyer intent Flexibility

Gain in net operating profit due to the increase in sales opportunities

Sales teams reported significant benefits from the search filters, list management, analytical capabilities, and accurate, up-to-date profiles provided by Sales Navigator. These features enabled them to efficiently identify and reach out to qualified prospects in less time. As a result, they observed improvements in response rates, increased meeting rates, and an increase in closed/won opportunities.

Sales Navigator not only contributed to increased annual revenue by sourcing more high-quality pipeline, but also was increasingly influential in closing sales deals. Interviewees reported an average year-over-year revenue increase of 8% (5% in year 1, 8% in year 2, and 10% in year 3), and also found that the revenue lift attributable to Sales Navigator grew from 20% to 30% over a 3-year period.

8% average yearly increase in revenue
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How Forrester calculated net profit growth

Better outreach, better outcomes

Interviewees reported Sales Navigator provided the level of foresight necessary to identify and engage with a greater volume of high-value prospects with intent to buy.

Based on a US$250M annual revenue and 12% net operating profit margin, Forrester modeled a US$1.3 million gain in net operating profit due to the increase in sales opportunities.

Improves with age

Forrester's study found that as sales professionals' familiarity with Sales Navigator increases over time, and the platform becomes more embedded in an organization's sales process, its influence on positive sales outcomes also grows. Based on testimony from the interviewees, our composite models a 20% revenue attribution to Sales Navigator in year 1, 25% in year 2, and 30% in year 3. This amounts to a US$15 million revenue lift attributable to Sales Navigator in that period.

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Equipped with quality first-party data from the world's largest professional network of over 950 million members, Sales Navigator users can use features like the Account Hub and Alerts to identify and reach out to qualified prospects in less time. With increased outreach quality comes improved sales outcomes, and interviewees in our study reported net gains in operating profit and the impact of Sales Navigator on their sales pipeline.

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Efficiencies gained in sales research efforts

Forrester found that by gaining access to more accurate profile data and replacing contact scraping and cold calling practices, the sales teams within the decision-makers’ organizations experienced significant efficiency improvements. 

The study concluded that Sales Navigator users (principally AEs and BDRs) saved 15% of their time each week in research-related activities. Access to 1+ billion professional profiles and 60+ million businesses on the LinkedIn deep sales platform, and the means to easily search and organize the information, saved the composite organization over US$2.6 million over a 3-year period in efficiency savings.

15% Sales time saved each week
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How Forrester calculated efficiency savings

Account exec to development rep ratio

For the financial modeling, and based on the interview testimony, Forrester assumes the ratio of Account Executives (AEs) to Business or Sales Development Reps (BDRs / SDRs) stands at 10:3. 

Quality data at your fingertips

Forrester found that before adopting Sales Navigator, the interviewees' sales teams struggled with sales tools that were limited, and lacked essential features such as filtering and search capabilities. However, when they used Sales Navigator and its features (e.g., Lead Search, Account Hub), interviewee companies testified that their total time conducting sales research was reduced from 25% to just 10%.

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Sales Navigator enables AEs and BDRs with access to the world's most comprehensive and accurate professional database. It also sorts and organizes that data, allowing sales reps to save precious hours each week to spend time with customers and source new opportunities. Our product can give your sales reps 15% of their time back.

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Productivity gains and license cost elimination due to the consolidation of legacy sales tools

According to Forrester, the interviewees found the integration capability of Sales Navigator with CRM platforms enabled their sales organizations to synchronize data seamlessly. This ensured that leads, updates, and activities were accurately tracked in real-time within their sales pipelines. As a result, the teams experienced increased productivity by eliminating the need to switch between applications to perform similar tasks.

The study concluded that Sales Navigator users each saved 65 hours every year by using the platform, and could eliminate one legacy sales tool from their tech stack, saving the composite organization over US$2.3 million over a 3-year period in productivity savings.

The composite company saved 16,250 sales hours a year
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Time is money

Due to the integration with the CRM, all Sales Navigator users save at least 15 minutes per day toggling between sales tools, for a total time savings of 65 hours per year per user. At a fully burdened Account Executive cost of US$66/hr, Forrester calculated that this enhanced sales productivity saved our composite company over US$1 million every year.

Out with the old

Decision-makers highlighted during the interviews that adopting Sales Navigator meant they could eliminate legacy tools from their sales tech stacks, leading to additional cost savings for their organizations. This was calculated to save the composite organization an average of US$200/year per user.

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Sales Navigator makes sales professionals more productive, features like Uploading your Book of Business, Spotlight Filters, and CRM Sync allow revenue-driving professionals to make incremental time savings that add up to meaningful volumes of time that are returned to the organization. It also cuts back on lengthy click journeys that sellers otherwise need to take to connect disparate data sources. All-in, these were found to save our composite organization US$2.3 million in productivity gains over 3 years.

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Data accuracy and enrichment

According to the interviewees, the ability to leverage reliable, auto-reported profile data is a powerful value-add and helps drive the efficiencies experienced by their sales teams. The LinkedIn network now stands at 1+ billion people, and 60+ million businesses, making it the definitive source of trusted professional data.

Global network with 1+ billion members
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LinkedIn continually seeks to maintain the integrity of our data, while prioritizing the user experience and protecting the privacy of our members. More than 7 million members have verified who they are or where they work, many using new integrations with Microsoft Entra, as well as CLEAR and Hyperverge**

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Data is at the foundation of modern decision-making, and sales teams require access to the most up-to-date and trustworthy information possible to make the most out of their prospecting efforts. LinkedIn membership has accelerated for eight quarters in a row, a testament to how mission-critical the platform has become to help more than 950 million members connect, learn, sell, and get hired. Sales Navigator organizes and presents this data to sales professionals in a way that enables them to find, target, and engage with the right buyers at the right time.**

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Hidden allies resulting in warm leads

Sales Navigator reveals colleague relationships at a prospect's company. Current and former coworkers can provide insights, reach out to their connections, and make warm introductions, generally more effective than the cold-call approach. 

Features such as Alerts can proactively inform sales professionals when there is a change or development about a sales lead, providing buyer foresight that enables warm, personalized outreach. LinkedIn data shows that messages sent over the platform (InMails) have a higher response rate than traditional methods, they are 3x more likely to be accepted than a cold call, and 6x more than email.**

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Have you heard of TeamLink? Customers who have a Sales Navigator Advanced or Advanced Plus account also have access to TeamLink, which is a tool that allows you to view your team's connections. TeamLink utilizes the power of your entire team's network to help you find the best path to a lead by showing you Sales Navigator license holders on your team account who are 1st-degree connections to the lead, even if you're not connected to your teammate. With this information, you can easily see who can help you connect with potential leads and make a warm introduction.

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LinkedIn key takeaways

No type of sales outreach has ever beaten a warm introduction in terms of effectiveness. LinkedIn recognizes the power of personal connections, especially when it comes to sales. Sales Navigator has been designed with this in mind, it enables sales professionals to 'find their in' to prospective accounts. And when it can't find a mutual connection, it proactively surfaces the buyer foresight needed to organically start a relationship-driven conversation.

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Identification of high-value leads with intent to buy

Interviewees discussed Sales Navigator features that track lead activity and alert team members when prospects show interest with an intent to buy. Examples of intent-to-buy activities include responding to InMail, viewing the seller’s profile, or viewing the seller’s employees’ profiles. The ability to view these actions on a buyer intent dashboard helps the organizations’ sales teams prioritize accounts and focus on those prospects most likely to engage.

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Finding the perfect moment to reach out to a potential customer is crucial to optimizing outreach success. LinkedIn data shows that engaging with buyers when they show intent leads to +71% higher InMail response rates and 22% higher win rates.**

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Finding your ideal customer is only half the battle, sales professionals also need to know the optimum moment to reach out. Sales Navigator provides that foresight. Building a habit of saving accounts and leads allows the platform to learn when to notify users when they show interest in your company. Participants in Forrester's TEI study identified this intent functionality as a core benefit of the LinkedIn deep sales platform.

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Ability to organize data in creative ways

With advanced insights, unique search and filter options, and real-time updates, users can improve account data organization and streamline their sales pipeline management. Manipulating organized data helps unlock previously undiscovered opportunities, leading to improved outcomes and increased conversion rates. Moreover, Sales Navigator offers a scalable, flexible, upgradable product allowing for an increase in functionality and users according to business needs and direction.

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Sales Navigator has three plan types — Core, Advanced, and Advanced Plus. Each plan type offers varying levels of functionality to accommodate every type of business need. Participants in the Forrester study were Advanced Plus plan users. Compare LinkedIn plan types here.

A project's expected return on investment (ROI) is calculated by dividing net benefits (benefits less costs) by costs. When risk and discount rates are factored in, Forrester calculated that the composite organization achieved a return on investment of 312% and a payback period of less than 6 months.

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LinkedIn key takeaways

Sales Navigator equips all of your sales team with the tools to behave like your top-performing sellers and improves your employee experience. As one study participant noted, “Sales Navigator has improved the overall employee experience. It gives everyone the ability to do their tasks more easily and stay in touch with prospects on a professional and social level.”

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Cost and investment analysis

In the Total Economic Impact (TEI) study, Forrester analyzed the costs and investment tied to adopting LinkedIn Sales Navigator. These costs encompassed testing, implementation, training (initial and ongoing), and management, as reported by interviewees. For its financial analysis, in addition to the annual Sales Navigator license fee, Forrester assumed the following:

  •  Implementation requires 20% of 20 Full-Time Employees' (FTEs') time for one month.
  •  Initial training of 8 hours per user. Ongoing training of 12 hours per user per year.
  •  Ongoing management with four internal stakeholders dedicating 1 hour per week at a rate of US$66 per hour.

The total cost over three years equated to a present value of US$1.5 million. For more details, refer to the table below or the full study.

Regional Spotlights

Asia-Pacific Spotlight

Asia-Pacific Spotlight

Europe Spotlight

Europe Spotlight

Latin America Spotlight

Latin America Spotlight

North America Spotlight

North America Spotlight

*LinkedIn commissioned Forrester to undertake this TEI study. Forrester does not endorse a company or its solution, and clients cannot purchase favorable opinions or results. Forrester maintains editorial control over any content created. For more information visit

**This information derives from LinkedIn proprietary data and is supplemental to Forrester's TEI Study findings.